Level 1 training, Research

Brokering

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Good for Business? an enquiry into the impact of Microsoft’s investment in partnership brokers training

Over the last few years Microsoft has invested significantly in partnering capacity building. It chose to specifically focus on partnership brokering due to the fact that those fronting Microsoft partnerships were very often taking on the dual role of Microsoft representative to the partnership whilst also driving the partnering process forward to help it to add value to all parties.

“We believe the results are significant—for our employees,our partnerships, our business and wider society—but we wanted to be sure…hence this enquiry.”

The Partnership Brokers Association has completed an enquiry piece to look at the value the training has brought to the company. We hope you find the report useful, stimulating, and above all valuable, to building the picture of  the value of partnership brokering to an organisations partnering approach.

Download the report here

 

What do Partnership Brokers Do? An enquiry into practice

To coincide with the launch of the Association, we have published a comprehensive report into the role of partnership brokers in multi-stakeholder collaborations. This brings together the practical experiences of 250 accredited partnership brokers and seeks to help both partnership brokers and the wider partnering community to better understand the partnership broker’s role in building and maintaining effective, efficient and innovative partnerships.

The enquiry finds that partnership brokers can make a difference to partnerships in two key ways:

  1.  By helping partners address typical partnering challenges
  2. By improving a partnership’s efficiency, effectiveness and innovation

‘What do Partnership Brokers do?’ uses brokers’ personal reflections on their practical experiences of partnership brokering to draw out what the most common roles they play are, and what challenges they face.

Some of the key findings are that brokers:

  • Spend considerable time on relationship-building and relationship management.
  • Exercise a range of specific skills that also demonstrate approaches that partners can adopt and use themselves.
  • Assist partnerships by pulling partners together when they fall out with each other and by pushing them to achieve more.
  • See real value in becoming more ‘reflective’ in the way they approach their work.
  • Have a need to balance effective, valuable input and potential dependency on them.

This research starts the ball rolling in assisting a greater understanding of the role of a Partnership Broker. The vignettes from brokers in their own words convey a real need for effective brokering – if partnerships truly are to achieve their ambitious goals. There is more work to be done, and we invite brokers to share their experiences with the partnering community to continue the quest for learning.

 

Download the enquiry here

Partnership Brokering Project – Survey findings

A pleasing number of people from the global network of partnership brokers (114) responded enthusiastically to our recent survey. Responses indicate an interesting level of consensus about the way forward for this work and we (the staff team and the International Development Group) will be using the findings as a basis for the comprehensive development plan from January 2011.

We feel our general direction has been warmly endorsed and have summarised the findings below. A full summary of responses can be downloaded here.

Warmest good wishes for the Festive Season and for all the important work that will be undertaken by you and other partnership brokers in 2011!

Survey headlines include:

Training
  • Expansion of open Level 1 training courses to new regions warmly welcomed (SE Asia, Africa and USA specifically mentioned)
  • Strong endorsement of sector-specific Level 1 options – Health and Extractives sectors achieving highest rating
  • Respondents indicated a high need for single sector or individual organisation trainings for every sector – business, donors, governments, international agencies and NGOs
  • Some made the case for small groups for Level 1 making it possible to be highly personal and responsive to individual brokering challenges
  • Many endorsed Level 1 being a residential programme in a ‘retreat’ setting as an important aid to getting participants out of their comfort zones
  • Warm enthusiasm for other post-Level 1 training opportunities with the following emphasis:

–          Cross-sector exchanges (88 rated this as ‘high importance’)
–          New Leadership training (78 rated this as ‘high importance’)
–          Specialist topics (55 rated as ‘high importance’) – with negotiation, communication, reviewing and personal development being singled out as topics
–          Level 1 refresher courses (46 rated as ‘high importance’)

  • 55 respondents thought a Masters level qualification (Level 3) would ‘add significantly to knowledge and influence’ on partnership brokering –a long-distance course being an important component and a strong emphasis on practice
Research
  • An overwhelming majority, 88.7%, of respondents said that there was a demand / need for evidence demonstrating the impact of brokering.
  • The theme that received the highest marks in terms of ‘usefulness’ was “A comparative analysis of brokered versus un-brokered partnerships.”
  • Suggestions for other research topics were largely variations of the ones proposed (see LEARNING section of website for more details)
  • Research into internal versus external brokering was suggested
  • There was considerable enthusiasm for being involved in research from the respondents
Network, Institute & Influence
  • Strong interest in a community of practice as long as it was well moderated – with particular enthusiasm from many in developing regional chapters / networks (ie linking Level 1 graduates from different cohorts but living and working in the same region)
  • Interest in some international and regional events to ‘put brokering on the map’ with decision-makers and leaders in all sector
  • Considerable support for an international professional institute of partnership brokers – though some expressed a level of dissatisfaction with other professional institutes and hope that this would be different.